Experimental films are challenging to review… am I wrong? Watching one as a member of the audience, I’m always thinking, how far am I to dig down and sift through a movie to understand the filmmaker’s message, or am I simply to sit back and take in what’s on my screen. I suppose that’s why they call them “experimental.” With that, I present to you PS King’s The Loneliest Girl on Mars.
King’s short film is six minutes of experimental animation. It opens with the statement about “the thin fabric that separates this world from the next.” King then presents a battle between body and mind, seeking to separate itself into madness as if trying to grasp the insanity of the physical world as “the soul rips itself apart.”
That’s my take, at least. Am I right? Am I supposed to be right? Which begs the question for experimental films, just how much of PS King’s vision laying beneath The Loneliest Girl on Mars are we supposed to get? These are questions I have yet to answer.
“…trying to grasp the insanity of the physical world as ‘the soul rips itself apart.'”
Is King attempting to convey feelings of madness? The imagery in The Loneliest Girl on Mars features a series of contrasts between beauty and horror. Examples include a “Barbie” doll’s head with its eyes blackened out and hand-drawn lines to create a steady flow of tears, then a decaying zombie-like face tinted in warm pinks and purples. The electronic narration begins with prompts of “let me tell you of sadness…” or “when I was a child…”
Is The Loneliest Girl on Mars good? Seriously, how exactly do you judge experimental films fairly? I will say the imagery is quite striking and compelling. I like the warm yet haunting color palette used. If the story and sound design were meant to drive one insane by creating tension and anxiety, then well done. My only complaint is the electronic dialogue and narration were often challenging to understand at times. With its poetic style, clarity helps keep the viewer engaged versus tuning out because you don’t know what’s being said.
My sheer fascination to understand what PS King was going for led to multiple viewings on my parts, and now I’m obsessed. It’s time to watch The Loneliest Girl on Mars again.
"…meant to drive one insane by creating tension and anxiety..."